NEWS AND VIEWS – ROME, ITALY: a mother and her six piglets entered a fenced children’s playground near the Vatican, Rome. It was another incursion by wild boar entering the city and rummaging through uncollected rubbish. Simultaneously, a dog walker had been injured by a boar and another was killed when, on a moped, they crashed into a boar crossing the road.
The police closed the playground on Thursday. Children gathered outside to feed the family of wild boar inside the playground through the fence. Animal rights activists gathered to protest on Friday evening at the same time that local authority marksmen arrived.
There were scuffles between the animal rights activists and riot police. The crowd was shouting “Assassins!”. The marksmen used tranquilizer darts to shoot the wild boar and then they were killed with lethal injections. Their bodies were carted off to be incinerated.
Michela Brambilla, an MP in Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party and an animal rights activist shouted, “This was a cold-blooded execution which will not go unpunished”.
She was trying to negotiate a deal with the officials to take the wild boar to a sanctuary for animals when the police turned up and shot them. The person in charge is said to have been callous in that he moved people aside so that he could see “the show” better. He refused to talk to the MP on the phone and she claims that he insulted her in a sexist way.
She is threatening to sue the official in charge of the shooting party and the mayor of Rome has promised an enquiry. A senator, Loredana De Petris has said that she will discuss the matter in Parliament.
Children had watched the events through the playground fence and a mother of one of them said that the shooting had turned the playground from a symbol of fun and happiness for the children to a “place of death, violence and above all lack of compassion”. Her eight-year-old son, Tito D’Orazio said, “There was no reason to kill them”.
Comment: indeed, there was no reason to kill them. The boy is correct. He is wiser than the adults running the local authority. Perhaps the coronavirus pandemic had encouraged the wild boar to come down to feed on rubbish because the streets have been quieter than normal. If that was the case then it is doubly cruel because the pandemic has been caused by humans and then humans kill the boar for no reason. It’s a classic case of human-animal conflict in which animals almost invariably suffer and the humans often looks as if they have acted immorally.